Alcatel has announced the new Idol 4 series of smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Building on the success of its Idol 3, the Idol 4 and Idol 4S smartphones are claimed to “take everything up a notch” with a new Boom Key and an augmented multimedia experience.
“The Idol 4 series marks another milestone in Alcatel innovation,” said Dan Dery, Chief Marketing Officer at Alcatel. “The Boom Key boom-ifies everything, from the sound to photos to gaming. Something we’re really excited about, and something I’m eager to show my friends is that we’ve augmented Idol 4’s multimedia experience. A screen that offers a stunning display from any angle, an all-in-one powerhouse audio ecosystem and a professional-caliber camera.”
Alcatel provided the following information:
Boom me up! The Boom Key Delivers Augmented Experience
Boom my camera: Instantly takes photos on standby mode pressing and holding the button puts the camera into burst mode to take photos in quick succession.
Boom my gallery: Artistically shuffles the photos in the gallery for instant sharing as a photo collage or a short slideshow.
Boom my videos: Generates immediate, surprising effects in existing videos, such as replaying the previous one second of the video three times, or changing the playback speed. When a user is recording a video, pressing the Boom Key will immediately broadcast the video live.
Boom my music: Conceived by Alcatel and creatively engineered by Waves, the audio experience is automatically optimized across all media with simply one touch. The bass, loudness and clarity of the sound is enhanced, enriching the whole user experience.
Boom my game: Asphalt fans will love how the Boom Key amps up their race by releasing the Nitro and boosting the car speed. It also boosts the audio experience by increasing the volume and adding spatial sound reproduction.
Boom my view: Creates a more intense 3D effect (parallax UI effect) for the launcher and a stunning, live weather display as part of the home-screen.
Augmented Multimedia: Amped-Up Display, Camera and Sound
The Idol 4, featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, and the Idol 4S, featuring the Snapdragon 652 processor, deliver advanced features and capabilities that allow consumers to experience console-quality 3D gaming, enhanced photography and videography, as well as home theater-quality audio. These Qualcomm Technologies processors also features an X8 LTE modem and 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity which supports very fast download speeds. Additionally users will be able to enjoy all-day battery life. Both smartphones sport displays that provide superb readability even in bright sunlight and clear viewing from any angle using Qualcomm Technologies’ Assertive Display technology. The larger, 5.5-inch Idol 4S offers a 2K AMOLED display, which is super-responsive and low in power consumption.
“Both Snapdragon 617 and 652 processors take processing and power efficiency to new heights and offer advanced features that will enable the great user experiences for Alcatel consumers,” said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies. “We are pleased to have worked with Alcatel on the development of their new Idol 4 and Idol 4S series, which will deliver exceptional features.”
Idol 4 series comes with professional-quality cameras offering ultrafast auto-focus (0.1-0.3 seconds), as well as 360-degree photos and selfies. The smartphones also produce crystal-clear shots even in the dark.
For a superior and powerful audio experience, Alcatel teamed up with two well-known audio brands, JBL and Waves.
Other Idol 4 series audio features include two powerful 3.6 watt speakers, Hi-Fi surround-sound for the headset, and optimization of audio presets both automatically and manually, giving users a powerhouse sound. The J22 JBL headphones employ high-performance drivers and a high quality microphone is included to enable the end-user to enjoy on-the-go phone conversations.
The pre-loaded Onetouch Music app offers users an all-in-one music ecosystem, which lets them discover new music, mix online or local tracks, remix, as well as play and browse featured playlists.
Augumented Reversibility: Up, Down and All Around
IDOL 4 and IDOL 4S are reversible in three ways. The interface rights itself no matter if the users picks it up right side up or upside down. In addition, it is reversible left to right: stereo sound is always on the correct side, even when the phone is flipped. And the strategically placed speaker grille ensures that sound is unobstructed, whether the phone is facing up or turned over.
Augumented Reality: Part of the Idol 4 Experience
Last but not least: The Idol 4S’s innovative packaging design transforms into a pair of virtual reality goggles which, when combined with the smartphone, becomes the portal for users to enter the world of immersive 360-degree viewing and gaming. Virtual reality content such as videos and games can be downloaded onto the device from the Onetouch VR Store, a built-in app to easily access saved virtual reality content or streamed in realtime via LittlStar.
Finely Crafted Design
Idol 4 and Idol 4S will be offered with four different metal frames: Gold, Dark Gray, Rose Gold and Metal Silver. The front glass touch panel and glass back cover give the phones a premium look and feel. The Idol 4 series’ slimness (6.9 mm), metal frame and in-mold spin-effect texture add to its finely crafted, luxurious design.
UN calls for electronics overhaul to beat e-waste
Seven UN entities have come together at the World Economic Forum to tackle the escalating scourge of electronic waste.
Seven UN entities have come together, supported by the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to call for an overhaul of the current electronics system, with the aim of supporting international efforts to address e-waste challenges.
The report calls for a systematic collaboration with major brands, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), academia, trade unions, civil society and associations in a deliberative process to reorient the system and reduce the waste of resources each year with a value greater than the GDP of most countries.
Each year, approximately 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste)
Less than 20% of this is recycled formally. Informally, millions of people worldwide (over 600,000 in China alone) work to dispose of e-waste, much of it done in working conditions harmful to both health and the environment.
The report, “A New Circular Vision for Electronics – Time for a Global Reboot,” launched in Davos 24 January, says technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), support gradual “dematerialization” of the electronics industry.
Meanwhile, to capture the global value of materials in the e-waste and create global circular value chains, the report also points to the use of new technology to create service business models, better product tracking and manufacturer or retailer take-back programs.
The report notes that material efficiency, recycling infrastructure and scaling up the volume and quality of recycled materials to meet the needs of electronics supply chains will all be essential for future production.
And if the electronics sector is supported
The joint report calls for collaboration with multinationals, SMEs, entrepreneurs, academia, trade unions, civil society and associations to create a circular economy for electronics where waste is designed out, the environmental impact is reduced and decent work is created for millions.
The new report supports the work of the E-waste Coalition, which includes:
- International Labour Organization (ILO);
- International Telecommunication Union (ITU);
- United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment);
- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO);
- United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR);
- United Nations University (UNU), and
- Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions (BRS).
The Coalition is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Economic Forum and coordinated by the Secretariat of the Environment Management Group (EMG).
Considerable work is being done on the ground. For example, in order to grasp the opportunity of the circular economy, today the Nigerian Government, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN Environment announce a 2 million dollar investment to kick off the formal e-waste recycling industry in Nigeria. The new investment will leverage over 13 million dollars in additional financing from the private sector.
According to the International Labour Organization, in Nigeria up 100,000 people work in the informal e-waste sector. This investment will help to create a system which formalizes these workers, giving them safe and decent employment while capturing the latent value in Nigeria’s 500,000 tonnes of e-waste.
UNIDO collaborates with a large number of organizations on e-waste projects, including UNU, ILO, ITU, and WHO, as well as various other partners, such as Dell and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). In the Latin American and Caribbean region, a UNIDO e-waste project, co-funded by GEF, seeks to support sustainable economic and social growth in 13 countries. From upgrading e-waste recycling
Another Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) report launched today by the World Economic Forum, with support from Accenture Strategy, outlines a future in which Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies provide a tool to achieve a circular economy efficiently and effectively, and where all physical materials are accompanied by a digital dataset (like a passport or fingerprint for materials), creating an ‘internet of materials.’ PACE is a collaboration mechanism and project accelerator hosted by the World Economic Forum which brings together 50 leaders from business, government and international organizations to collaborate in moving towards the circular economy.
Matrics must prepare for AI
By Vian Chinner, CEO and founder of Xineoh.
Many in the matric class of 2018 are currently weighing up their options for the future. With the country’s high unemployment rate casting a shadow on their opportunities, these future jobseekers have been encouraged to look into which skills are required by the market, tailoring their occupational training to align with demand and thereby improving their chances of finding a job, writes Vian Chinner – a South African innovator, data scientist and CEO of the machine learning company specialising in consumer behaviour prediction, Xineoh.
With rapid innovation and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), all careers – including high-demand professions like engineers, teachers and electricians – will look significantly different in the years to come.
Notably, the third wave of internet connectivity, whereby our physical world begins to merge with that of the internet, is upon us. This is evident in how widespread AI is being implemented across industries as well as in our homes with the use of automation solutions and bots like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. So much data is collected from the physical world every day and AI makes sense of it all.
Not only do new industries related to technology like AI open new career paths, such as those specialising in data science, but it will also modify those which already exist.
So, what should matriculants be considering when deciding what route to take?
For highly academic individuals, who are exceptionally strong in mathematics, data science is definitely the way to go. There is, and will continue to be, massive demand internationally as well as locally, with Element-AI noting that there are only between 0 and 100 data scientists in South Africa, with the true number being closer to 0.
In terms of getting a foot in the door to become a successful data scientist, practical experience, working with an AI-focused business, is essential. Students should consider getting an internship while they are studying or going straight into an internship, learning on the job and taking specialist online courses from institutions like Stanford University and MIT as they go.
This career path is, however, limited to the highly academic and mathematically gifted, but the technology is inevitably going to overlap with all other professions and so, those who are looking to begin their careers should take note of which skills will be in demand in future, versus which will be made redundant by AI.
In the next few years, technicians who are able to install and maintain new technology will be highly sought after. On the other hand, many entry level jobs will likely be taken care of by AI – from the slicing and dicing currently done by assistant chefs, to the laying of bricks by labourers in the building sector.
As a rule, students should be looking at the skills required for the job one step up from an entry level position and working towards developing these. Those training to be journalists, for instance, should work towards the skill level of an editor and a bookkeeping trainee, the role of financial consultant.
This also means that new workforce entrants should be prepared to walk into a more demanding role, with more responsibility, than perhaps previously anticipated and that the country’s education and training system should adapt to the shift in required skills.
The matric classes of 2018 have completed their schooling in the information age and we should be equipping them, and future generations, for the future market – AI is central to this.